Thursday, August 23, 2012 | Edited by Daniel Moores
||ICSC Conference: Brick-and-Mortar Stores Can Still Prosper in Internet Age
The trip to the store isn't a thing of the past, even as more shoppers go online to make their purchases.
That was the message from Brad Hutensky, chairman of the International Council of Shopping Centers, speaking Monday at the trade group's conference in Orlando.
Hutensky told an audience of more than 2,000 shopping center industry leaders that brick-and-mortar stores must adapt to today's changing technology but still have a dominant place in the retail arena. Hutensky is president of Connecticut-based Hutensky Capital Partners, a real estate fund management group that provides capital to underperforming centers.
"The store will change, but it's not going away," he said. "Whenever there is change, there is opportunity."
Traditional stores offer advantages that online retailers don't, he said. They provide instant gratification without the wait of shipping. They also satisfy our craving for human contact. Who asks a friend to meet them at a computer to do some shopping online, he asked. People go to the mall to socialize and have an experience.
Traditional stores facilitate returns more easily than online vendors, which require that items be shipped, often at the buyer's expense. Traditional stores also accept cash, an increasingly popular form of payment as people look to pay down their debts or stay within their means.
Hutensky said not all products are equal in the eyes of consumers. Shoppers might go online to buy a hoodie, but they are less apt to purchase an expensive suit that needs alterations. You can't get a haircut over the Internet. Or buy an ice cream cone.
Good retailers go on the offensive, he said. He pointed to the recent partnership between luxury retail chain Neiman Marcus and discounter Target to sell the same limited collection by American designers this holiday season. To fight against showrooming -- in which shoppers check out an item at a store, then buy it online for less money -- some retailers are posting competitors' prices right on the shelves.
Hutensky thinks Best Buy and other big-box retailers will continue to shrink their stores. That will create opportunities for shopping centers to bring in new tenants and allow stores to open multiple locations within close proximity, adding more convenience for customers.
The most retail activity will happen at existing centers, not new ones, he said. Eighty percent of U.S. shopping centers are more than 15 years old, he said, warranting widespread renovations.
Hutensky's comments came at a time when many retailers are cautiously optimistic. Retail sales were up 0.8 percent in July after three months of decline.
Lee Arnold, chief executive of Colliers International Tampa Bay, described the retail market as lethargic but with signs of improvement. Shopping center landlords are busy negotiating leases, but consumer confidence remains weak.
"If we're not at the bottom, we're bouncing at the bottom," he said during the conference. "It's going to take a while for the customer to feel more comfortable. It appears we're on track for a slow recovery."
For evidence of a gradually improving economy, officials pointed to the conference attendance. More than 3,300 people registered, an increase of 10 percent over last year. The council has 55,000 members worldwide.
(Source: Tampa Bay Times, 08/20/12)
||Differences Blurring Between Fast and Fast Casual
Limited-service restaurants (LSRs) are the driving force behind the commercial foodservice industry, according to a recent Technomic report.
LSRs account for more than half ($200 billion) of total industry sales despite their low check averages in comparison to full-service restaurants.
Ten years ago, LSRs made up 47% of the total commercial foodservice industry while full-service restaurants (FSRs) made up 53%. Now the landscape has reversed; LSRs account for 53% and FSRs 47%.
Within the LSR segment, fast-casual restaurants continue to gain market share while fast-food restaurants are working overtime to upscale their menu and concept positioning -- not only to keep pace, but to compete directly with fast-casual leaders.
"The key to LSR growth is differentiation," said executive vice president Darren Tristano. "Many LSRs that have demonstrated growth have a broad consumer appeal, yet each has a discerned approach. Consumers are looking for fresh, better-quality ingredients, a contemporary decor and ambiance and interactive service formats to offer something unique and enhance the customer experience."
Fast-food patronage thrives on its convenience and value, while food distinction and ambiance are key factors driving patronage at fast-casual locations, Technomic said. Look for a blurring of the lines between fast-food and fast-casual restaurants, with operators in each subsegment tweaking their concepts with new unit designs and convenient service formats in order to remain competitive.
To help operators and others aligned with the foodservice industry more effectively identify opportunities for growth and gain a competitive advantage, Technomic has developed "The Future of LSR: Fast-Foods & Fast-Casual Restaurants Consumer Trend Report."
Interesting findings include:
Consumer disparity: 72% of consumers visit fast-food restaurants once a week or more, while only half (49%) visit fast-casual restaurants, partly because there are fewer locations but also because they are more attractive to higher income consumers.
Lunch patronage: Consumers visit fast-food and fast-casual restaurants for lunch more often than for any other daypart; 21% purchase fast-food lunches at least twice a week and 19% visit fast-casual restaurants, largely due to time pressures.
Menu incidence: Breakfast sandwiches have grown by 35% at fast-food restaurants and by 29% at fast-casual chains, showing the strength of breakfast entrées at LSRs.
Health & wellness: Gluten-free options and the growing importance of better-for-you kids' meals continue to guide better-for-you LSR menu development.
Global inspiration: Street food influences continue. Rustic, handheld street foods with a global spin have helped LSR menu developers create unique and craveable offerings. Consumers are looking for new flavor supplements for their sophisticated palettes.
(Source: CSP Daily News, 08/14/12)
||Thriving Fairs Branch Out From Agricultural Roots
Katrina Dolezal-Mersinger and her family come to the Benton County Fair in Sauk Rapids, Minn., every summer for everything from rides and food to scavenger hunts and making model boats.
Dolezal-Mersinger of St. Cloud, Minn., has attended the fair for the past 12 years and loves the variety of free activities that come with it. Her two oldest children each submitted numerous 4-H entries, including a dress sewn by daughter Katherine and a model space shuttle built by son Johnathan.
"It's a nice opportunity for them to show off what they have learned and to see what other people are capable of doing, too," Dolezal-Mersinger says.
Once known mainly for midway thrill rides and livestock shows, many state and county fairs are finding success by adding unique events to attract new visitors and offering low-cost entertainment to families on a budget.
More people are forgoing vacations and looking for things to do closer to home, says Marla Calico, director of education for the International Association of Fairs and Expositions, which has 1,100 members in the USA, Canada and several other countries.
"What we have seen is in difficult economic times, fairs actually thrive," Calico says.
The Elkhart County 4-H Fair in Goshen, Ind., a nine-day event in July, attracted nearly 245,000 people -- up 4% from 2011, marketing manager Kristy Ambrosen says.
Fair organizers have continued to work to honor the area's agricultural roots but added non-farm events such as rocket launches and three-on-three basketball tournaments, Ambrosen says.
"It's not necessarily that you have to be a farm kid to enjoy it," she says.
Like other fairs, Elkhart County's is trying to shift its focus toward more education about agriculture.
Visitors can watch calves being born or watch chefs from popular local restaurants demonstrate how to prepare dishes using garden produce.
"We always have it in our mind that there are a large portion of fair guests that are coming in the gate that are not regularly exposed to agriculture," Ambrosen says.
At the Red River Valley Fair in West Fargo, N.D., which drew 105,000 visitors over six days in mid-July, the fair's Ag Education Center shows visitors "where your food comes from and how it gets to your table," says Jodi Buresh, assistant general manager.
That includes displaying the many products made from a beef cow, from Big Macs to baseballs to leather belts, she says.
"We're targeting more of the city folks, so to speak," Buresh says.
For those who aren't interested in farming, organizers of the Red River Valley Fair have tried new features such as a salsa-making contest and a wine garden. They've also worked to add color to the fairgrounds, Buresh says.
"It's vibrant. You can feel the energy is much better," she says. "It's not the dirty old fairgrounds that everybody associates with fairs."
The Clay County Agricultural Fair in Green Cove Springs, Fla., attracted more than 98,000 people to its 10-day fair in April, about 40% of whom came from other counties, general manager Pete Sutton says.
The 27-year-old fair tries to offer something for all ages, from strolling entertainers to a historic village, where volunteers dress up in period costumes and cook traditional foods.
"People tend to come and they stay a long time, because it's got something for everyone," Sutton says. "We take a lot of pride in being more than a carnival."
The Benton County Fair attracts about 88,000 visitors every year and doesn't charge admission, says Joe Scapanski, fair board president. There are fees for grandstand events and parking, but anyone can walk in from the street and enjoy many free activities, Scapanski says.
Fairs are also turning to the Internet and social media to draw new visitors.
Many use websites, Facebook, Twitter and mobile apps to publicize events and create a sense of community.
"That's what it takes to survive in today's world," Sutton says. "We'd better adapt to the way people are communicating."
(Source: USA Today, 08/20/12)
Daily Sales Tip: Your Attitude
The foundation of all successful people is their attitude. Attitude is the "advance man" of our true selves. Its roots are inward, based on past experiences, but its fruit is outward. It is our best friend, or our worst enemy. It is more honest and more consistent than our words. It is a thing, which draws people to us, or repels us. It is never content until it is expressed. It is the librarian of our past, the speaker of our present and the prophet of our future. Yet, your attitude is under whose control?
Your attitude is 100% under your control! There are a lot of things in life that we have no control over. For example, there is absolutely nothing we could do about how prospects react to us or our products and services. All we could do is control the way we react. Yet, so many salespeople let the prospect's reaction determine their outlook for the day. Think about it: Are you as positive, upbeat and driven on a day full of rejection as you would be on a highly successful day?
How do you react to negative prospects? Do you walk away discouraged and complain about it or do you take control, stay focused and go on to the next call? Success is based on good judgment and that is based on experience and the only way one can gain experience is through failure. Isn't a sale a numbers game? We have to fail often to succeed once. This is all about attitude.
How you react, how you think, what you say to yourself or what you believe about yourself is all under your control and comes out in your attitude. You must first realize that your attitude is 100% under your control and learn to reflect, confirm and take hold of your attitude. You must take hold of your attitude towards yourself, overcome fear and be able to deal with rejection in order to increase your productivity while saving time and money.
What is your attitude towards your organization, its team players and products and services? Do you have an owner's mentality? If so, what would you do differently? Now, why are you not doing it? You have to address these issues and have a strong belief before you can move on.
What is your attitude towards the market that you represent? Do you have a clear, full-color picture of your ideal prospect? Do you know your competition and their strengths and weaknesses? If you don't, is it fair to say that you don't know what you are doing?
If you don't believe in:
(2) The organization that you represent, its team, products and services and
(3) The market that you are selling in; move on and find something you do believe in.
How could you convince anyone else to believe in something that you yourself don't believe in?
Source: Sales trainer/author Bob Urichuck